Camp Galil’s approach in maintaining a healthy and safe community in Summer 2023 represents a significant shift from the COVID mitigation and response we employed last year, and one that we believe strikes an appropriate balance between caution and compassion. Maintaining the health, safety, and well-being of all the members of the Galil community is important to us and we will continue to follow best medical and public health practices in order to achieve those goals.
The daily communal congregate living at summer camp, where groups of children and staff sleep in confined bunking quarters and eat in close proximity to one another, presents a unique set of circumstances and risks unlike any other. These circumstances require a degree of public health policies that may be different from the school or other settings.
Camp Galil’s vaccine requires that those who are in residence at camp must complete the age-appropriate vaccine schedules or the relevant catch-up schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). This includes vaccinations for COVID.
This includes requiring the primary COVID-19 vaccination series (2 doses). We very strongly recommend the bivalent booster (1 dose) for all staff and campers who are eligible, in accordance with the recommendations of the AAP and the CDC.
PRE-CAMP and -PROGRAM MITIGATION
There will be updated pre-arrival behavior recommendations for the week preceding your arrival to reduce potential virus exposures, as well as a pre-arrival COVID testing requirement. We will likely have our campers and staff use at-home rapid tests.
IN-CAMP and -PROGRAM MITIGATION
By entering into the summer with a COVID vaccinated community, we start from a place of health and wellbeing, positioning us to move through the summer with lower incidents of COVID and milder illness if it occurs. By requiring this COVID vaccination series prior to camp, we can drastically decrease our in-camp and in-program mitigation. We will continue to employ healthy habits for healthy communities, including hand hygiene and maintaining a clean environment.
ILLNESS and COVID RESPONSE
We will use our well-established health and wellness procedures for any community member experiencing any illness in Camp Galil. We will test campers and staff with symptoms suspicious of COVID. Our ability to house and care for COVID+ individuals will be the same as our ability to house and care for individuals with other illnesses. This practice has always been dependent on the individual’s symptom severity and length of illness as well as our operational and physical capacity.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- What if a staff member or camper recently had a COVID infection?
Per CDC guidelines, if you recently had a COVID infection, you may consider delaying your next vaccine dose (whether a primary dose or booster) by 3 months from when your symptoms started or, if you had no symptoms, when you first received a positive test. Stay Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccines Including Boosters | CDC
- What if a staff member or camper had a COVID booster previously but not the bivalent booster?
Whether and when one had a prior monovalent booster is unrelated to the continued need for the bivalent booster, once eligible. The primary vaccines and the bivalent booster is the recommendation of the AAP.
- Why is Camp Galil’s vaccination policies stricter than my school or workplace?
The communal living environments of camp present unique risks in relation to infectious disease, and COVID. As a result, Camp Galil’s long-standing vaccination policy and necessary health and wellness policies differ from those created for home, work, or school environments.
- Are there exceptions to the Galil vaccination policy?
Yes, there are exceptions to the Galil vaccination policy, and they are rare. We recognize that individuals who have had a documented severe allergy or severe adverse reaction to a particular vaccine may not be able to complete the immunization schedule outlined by the AAP. Additionally, individuals with medical conditions such as congenital immunodeficiency or HIV, cancer and who are receiving chemotherapy, transplant patients, and persons receiving immunosuppressive drugs and chronic steroids also may not be able to receive certain vaccines.
Please contact David Weiss, Executive Director, to complete a Vaccination Exemption request, and it will be reviewed. We are happy to discuss case-by-case management of these circumstances of medical contraindication to partial or complete vaccination.
- What happens if there’s a COVID outbreak at camp or COVID is on the rise in the community?
While we hope that will not be the case, we do recognize that it is a possibility. Fortunately, Camp Galil does have sets of guidelines and policies for a more rigorous COVID mitigation strategy that were developed over the 2021 and 2022 camping season, and we are experienced in delivering extraordinary fun experiences within the bounds of those guidelines. Our first priority remains our community’s safety and well-being.